Viagra and illegal cigarette stash sees Wolverhampton shop licence put up for review
An off-licence in Wolverhampton is set to find out if it will keep its premises licence after trading standards bosses found a large stash of illegal cigarettes and pharmaceutical drugs inside.
Officers raided KS News and Off-Licence in Oxford Street, Bilston, in February and recovered 9,860 cigarettes – the equivalent of 493 packets- after receiving a tip-off that illegal tobacco was being sold.
They also found 969 100mg Sildenafil Citrate, or Viagra, tablets.
Now licensing bosses at Wolverhampton Council are set to carry out a review of the store’s premises licence.
Dianne Slack, the city’s trading standards tobacco control officer, said: “Sildenafil Citrate tablets contain the same active ingredient as Viagra, used to treat erectile dysfunction.
"There were no patient instructions or warnings with them and they can have serious side-effects.
“A trading notice was left with the manager, who was present at the time, and he was told that it was a criminal offence to possess, supply or sell illicit tobacco or counterfeit products.”
Parpinder Singh, senior public health specialist for Wolverhampton Council, said: “We have very serious concerns regarding the significant amount of illicit tobacco seized in February and are not reassured that the business is operating in adherence to the Licensing Act.
“Therefore, we support Trading Standards request to review the current licence. And I – or a suitable representative from Public Health – will be available to attend the hearing and provide further information as required.”
Sergeant Steph Reynolds, from West Midlands Police, said that as a responsible authority they would be seeking a revocation of the licence in the first instance.
“The evidence provided clearly shows that the Prevention of Crime and Disorder Licensing Objective has been seriously undermined here.
“The possession and sale of illicit tobacco and non-prescribed drugs is a very serious offence and should be dealt with as such,” she said.
Elaine Moreton, section leader for the city’s Licensing Authority said that the premises licence holder, named as Karanveer Singh, had not demonstrated that he was operating within the necessary requirements needed to promote the licensing objectives of crime and disorder and public safety.
She added that the authority fully supported the review and that she would also attend the hearing to provide any additional information.
Wolverhampton Council’s statutory licensing committee will make a decision on the matter at its next meeting on Thursday.
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